Major Requirements & Information

ENVS Program Learning Outcomes

Students graduating with a B.A. in Environmental Studies should be able to:

  • 1. Identify the societal (social, political, economic, cultural and ethical) agents and structures that contribute  to environmental change.  (social science competency)
  • 2. Describe the structure and functioning of major physical and ecological components of the earth’s systems. (natural science competency)
  • 3. Access and analyze a complex literature addressing specific topics in environmental studies, and evaluate the usefulness and limitations of individual sources of information.  (analytic thinking)
  • 4. Demonstrate effective oral and written communication skills. (communication skills)

Please read the following information on the 4 majors offered in ENVS.  If after you have read this information, you still have questions, please contact us at envsadvising@ucsc.edu

The Four Environmental Studies (ENVS) Majors

1. Single ENVS Major 

In addition to comprehensive classroom-based learning, a number of our students engage in field studies, internships, independent research, study abroad, and volunteer work.  Our students are highly encouraged to seek out these opportunities to “get out into the field” during their time at UCSC.  These “academic extras” are an excellent supplement to rigorous traditional courses, and are a great way to beef up your resume and prepare for the career world or future schooling. This major has 5 focus areas: Agroecology & Sustainable Agriculture; Conservation Science & Natural History; Environmental Education & Sustainability; Environmental Policy; Political Economy (more info here)

2. ENVS/BIO combined

This course of study provides students with the basic tools of biological science and sufficient understanding of resource conservation, conservation biology, and concerns about environmental sustainability.  The Environmental Studies/Biology degree program prepares students for graduate school or a career in the areas of conservation biology, restoration ecology, and other allied interdisciplinary life science fields. Students wishing to enter into specific graduate programs or seeking specific career certifications such as wildlife biologist need to check the requirements of each program and may need to add elements to their curriculum.  Important: All classes in this major must be taken for a letter grade.  See a faculty adviser for help.

        3. ENVS/ECON Combined 

The combined major in Environmental Studies and Economics is intended to provide students with the basic tools of economic analysis and an understanding of the principles of resource production, conservation and use in both ecological and economic terms.

4. ENVS/EART Combined

The combined major in Environmental Studies and Earth & Planetary Sciences is intended to provide students with the basic tools of Earth sciences and environmental studies needed to address environmental problems. Suggested plans of study include water policy/hydrology, restoration ecology, agroecology/soil physical processes and environmental policy/climate change, among others. Consult with faculty from both the Environmental Studies and Earth & Planetary Sciences Departments.

A Concentration in Agroecology and Sustainable Food Systems for our single major is available now. The concentration for our combined majors should be available Fall 2016. Requirements are below.

Concentration in Agroecology and Sustainable Food Systems 

ENVS is happy to announce a new Concentration within our undergraduate majors.  The Concentration will be noted on the student transcript as an indication the curriculum chosen has followed an approved path that constitutes a concentration. The major academic objective of the Agroecology & Sustainable Food Systems Concentration is to provide students with a depth of expertise within the ENVS major. Specifically, completing the Concentration will allow students to develop expertise and interdisciplinary knowledge of agroecology and sustainable agriculture. Students in the Agroecology & Sustainable Food Systems Concentration will learn about ecological concepts that can be applied to the development of sustainable agricultural systems and will also develop their understanding of social, political, and economic aspects of agriculture. Students will also have access to hands-on experiences, and obtain skills in research, fieldwork, production, and communication in order to achieve multiple sustainability goals in complex, social-ecological food systems.

The Agroecology & Sustainable Food Systems Concentration is available to students pursuing an ENVS-single major and will soon be available for the ENVS-combined major in Economics, Earth Sciences, or Biology.

Requirements for Agroecology & Sustainable Food Systems Concentration

Students pursuing the Agroecology & Sustainable Food Systems Concentration abide by all rules and requirements of the ENVS-single or ENVS-combined major. The Agroecology & Sustainable Food Systems Concentration includes three required courses (one in social sciences, one in natural sciences, one field-based course) and one elective course from the list below (no substitutions will be accepted). In addition, students will complete their ENVS senior exit (ENVS 190, ENVS 196, ENVS 195, or ENVS 183A/B) in a topic related to agroecology and sustainable food systems.

Required Upper-Division Courses: ENVS 130A/L, 130B, and 130C OR 133 

List of Elective Courses (choose one): ENVS 108, 129, 131, 143, 146, 161A/L, 162/L, 163/L, 165, 166, 168, 169, 170, or CMMU 149, 186.

In addition to coursework, it is strongly recommended that students complete at least one internship related to agroecology, sustainable agriculture, or sustainable food systems (either upper or lower division internship).

  • Note for students pursuing ENVS-single majors.Students pursuing the ENVS-single major and the Agroecology and Sustainable Food Systems Concentration will take the following upper division courses: ENVS 100, 130A/L, 130B, 130C (or 133), one course from the List of Elective Courses above, three additional ENVS electives, and an ENVS senior exit (ENVS 190, ENVS 196, ENVS 195, or ENVS 183A/B) in a topic related to agroecology and sustainable food systems.

  •  Note for students pursuing ENVS-combined majors. Students pursuing the ENVS-combined majors in Economics, Earth Sciences, or Biology and the Agroecology and Sustainable Food Systems Concentration will take the following upper division courses (in the ENVS portion of their major): ENVS 100, 130A/L, 130B, 130C (or 133), one course from the List of Elective Courses above, and an ENVS senior exit (ENVS 190, ENVS 196, ENVS 195, or ENVS 183A/B) in a topic related to agroecology and sustainable food systems.

General questions about the ENVS single and combined majors can be directed to envsadvising@ucsc.edu. Questions concerning the concentration can be directed to Prof. Stacy Philpott at sphilpot@ucsc.edu.

1.  Concentration with Single ENVS major

2.  Concentration with combined ENVS/ECON

3.  Concentration with combined ENVS/EART

4.  Concentration with combined ENVS/BIO